“Overbought and Not Open To Buy”

We are introducing you to a series of excuses for not getting the order that a small business owner and their sales managers are faced with on a regular basis from new and senior sales people. This is the 98th excuse for not getting an order: “The buyer is overbought and has no open to buy.”

Your young sales person and/or senior salesperson come into the office after a morning appointment.  You ask how the appointment went, and he says they were overbought and were not open to buy. This excuse puts a salesperson in a tailspin 90% of the time; he leaves without an order and many times with no follow up.  You, as a small business owner or sales manager hear this, and most of the time just tell the salesperson to continue on to the next buyer. You really have, without knowing it, accepted that excuse; and trust me they will use it again and again until you get so frustrated that you lash out at the salesperson, and that is not going to do anyone any good. It especially does not help in getting orders for your small business or help the sales manager make his sales objectives for the company.

 Your response could be several:

a)      Okay try again. If that is your answer, you really have without knowing it accepted that excuse, and trust me you will hear it again and again.

b)      You may just get totally upset with the salesperson and challenge his or her intelligence.

c)       Or maybe you should tell your salesperson to get a cup of coffee, catch up on their emails and come back in 30 minutes so you can discuss in more detail.

You need to make this a teaching moment.  As a small business owner or sales manager, take a lesson from your favorite major league baseball team.  If all the hitters are paid extremely well to hit the ball, then why do these organizations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on “Batting Coaches”?  To reinforce the basics, to see if the hitters have lost or forgotten a technique? They work with them to get them back on track.  This is the approach that will pay off for the small business owner over time.

Something you, the small business owner, needs to do is ask yourself:

a)      Is your salesperson new to the business? Or did you forget to give him/her guidance on the account, market etc.

b)      Does this customer have a sales cycle? Many industries do, such as the retail industry which operates season to season. If the salesperson is calling on buyers out of season, for example, selling winter coats to department stores in September, you are probably about 4 months too late. Without a doubt, there is no open to buy.

Suggestions on how to handle the buyer’s objection:

Without being “pushy,” and keeping in mind that sales is a relationship and not an occurrence, you may ask the customer, “If you weren’t limited to these spending limits, would you be interested in our (service/product or whatever)?”  If yes, then explain, “I only ask this to be sure that when you do have the ability to buy we are both on the same page to move quickly. If “no” then this is a good opportunity to realize that your “pitch” was not up to par and the customer is simply not going to buy from you, even if he/she could buy.  Or it’s a good time to find out what the real objection is.

  • You just do not walk into your customer’s office; more than likely you had an appointment. In the current world where everyone is doing 10 different jobs at the same time, getting an appointment, many times, is a challenge in itself.  Explain to your sales person – the buyer gave you an appointment for a reason and the buyer’s job is to buy.

  •  I have heard that objection many times over the years and for many years believed that to be the case.  Then I would see new product from my competitors on the floor that I knew had to have been sold to the buyer right after he gave me the objection. Then I thought, like most salespeople think, the buyer does not like me and that’s why he is not buying from me. However, being an analytical person I started thinking. A professional baseball player who is a top hitter only gets a hit one third of the times he goes to bat.  Why? Not because the pitcher does not like him, or the pitcher is that much better than he is. More times than not, the hitter has either lost his concentration, or basic technique. Thinking along this logic, I restate the buyer’s objection to myself and add a little more to “I am overbought and I see no reason to buy your product or your service.” I revisited my presentation and realized that I did not give a compelling reason to buy my product or service. The key here is compelling; no doubt I gave them reasons, but they were just not compelling enough in this situation to make the buyer find “open to buy” dollars.

As a small business owner or sales manager, take a lesson from your favorite major league baseball team.  If all the hitters are paid extremely well to hit the ball, then why do these organizations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on “Batting Coaches”? To reinforce the basic; to see if the hitters have lost or forgotten a technique; they work with them to get them back on track.

As a small business owner you need to grow your business, you have hired a salesperson who could be one of the best you see, or could be a newbie. Regardless, when he gives you the reason for not getting the order “they were overbought and no open to buy,” you now know what to tell him.